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First batch of feedback, Payback, ROH, Boxing, MMA

This was a good show . I give it a thumbs up. To be fair ROH has been on fire  with good matches on television, and good shows on their VOD service. For the most part from top to bottom the matches were good. The problem though I thought the matches weren't as good as I was anticipating. 

The best match of the night was the main event. This was tremendous an a MOTYC. It had a real Von Erich/Freebird feel in the sense it was super chaotic. It even had an updated version of the triple Von Erich drop kick . We got a quintuple super kick. Yes I stated it had chaos, but we also got shine and heat segments. Super hot moves and everybody got to shine or have a moment to look great in this match. Strong was the glue to his team. While Styles and the Bucks pushed the action on their side. Just outstanding and it makes you want to see matches off pairings in this match.

The worst match was the opener. Moose needs to stop the standing headbutts when he gets a tag. They don't come across as organic. 

Pete Schirmacher

Thumbs in the middle.

Best match: 10-man tag.
Worst match: 3-way tag.

ROH is quite weird. For whatever reason, they continue to deliver more on the "Lesser" shows compared to the "Important" ones. That trend continues this week with both Philadelphia shows beating the Toronto iPPV by a solid margin in quality.

Show was fine, but had nothing you need to go out of your way to see. 

The crowd was substantially down in terms of reactions compared to last year. In fact, this was one of the worst ROH crowds I've ever experienced live, and that covers dozens and dozens of shows since 2003. They didn't really know any of the New Japan Japanese talents, but loved the Bullet Club, and were really out to get themselves over and chant TNA related things at the former TNA guys.

It's funny, Philly was the Toronto crowd stereotype and Toronto was the Philly crowd stereotype this go around.

Thank you,
Sal Sarinzio

Global Wars Night 1
Thumbs Up
Best Match: Okada vs Cedric Alexander
Worst Match: Gedo/Moose vs Silas Young/Takaaki Watanabe

Global Wars Night 2
Thumbs Slightly Up
Best Match: Roderick Strong vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Worst Match: Silas Young vs Takaaki Watanabe

Hi Dave,

I attended both of the live shows in Toronto this weekend. Overall it was a very good weekend for prowrestling fans in Toronto. It was really great to see the ROH talent mash up with the New Japan guys (I missed it last year). Night 1 was much more entertaining than Night 2, but it’s hard to compare the two since Night 1 was an iPPV and Night 2 was intended for TV tapings; two different beasts.

Regarding Night 1, not sure how it translated on iPPV, but at the live show, the crowd seemed hot throughout.   Nakamura and Bullet Club were the most over, and in general, the crowd seemed to respect all the Japanese talent.   The final match was really hard to follow from the floor seats. There was just too much going on. I’d like to see a replay of the iPPV just to catch things I missed. There was really no bad match per se. By default the Gedo/Moose vs Silas Young/Takaaki Watanabe was the “worst” match when compared to the rest of the card, but really, it was a good match for what it was. For me, the Okada and Alexander match was the best. Great flow and chemistry with the two.

As Night 2 was a string of TV tapings, the evening moved to the rhythm of what you would typically expect in a TV show (i.e. DQs, countouts, promos, etc.). The show went long as I think they did 4 tapings (it started around 7:30 PM and ended around 11:45 PM) and by the end, you could tell that the crowd was running out of energy. Some spoilers ahead. There weren’t really any outstanding matches in the first half of the show. The biggest highlight was the Cedric Alexander turn which went further as he used a foreign object (brass knuckles?) to nail Moose for the win. I don’t follow the ROH TV show, but from what I gather, this was Moose’s first loss. If so, I was surprised that they did it for a TV taping than on a PPV. The last half of the evening was far above the first half in match quality. Crowd was probably most hot for the Strong vs Nakamura fight which the crowd ate up.   Great performance by both men.   Elgin vs Gedo followed the Strong/Nakamura match and at this point, you could tell the crowd was tired as chants and general crowd interactions were subdued.   However, they did pick up for the last match of the night with AJ Styles and Young Bucks vs Okada and RPG. Much like Night 1, Bullet Club was very over. Very fun intro as every person in the match got up on the turnbuckle for cheers before the bell rang, including the Japanese referee who even did a pose and got a huge reaction. The match was really fun and much easier to follow than the 5-on-5 match the night before, with Bullet Club taking the win.  

Stray Thoughts: I took my girlfriend to see Night 1. Just for some perspective, she is a non-fan. The few times she’s caught glimpses of Monday Night Raw, she’s dismissed it for its inane storylines. That said, even as a non-fan, she really enjoyed the iPPV show live, particularly the Japanese talent and highflyers. To me, it re-affirms that ROH and NJPW put on a great show!

Thanks for all your work!

Jeff Lam
Toronto, Ontario

BELLATOR 137

Thumbs somewhat up. Several come-from-behind &/or upset wins, but missed weight issues in the two top fights looks very horseshit.
Best fight: Zwicker vs. Al-Hassan
Worst fight: Reiter vs. Radach
Best performance: Parsons
Worst performance: Juarez
KO: Taimanglo
Sub: Gonzalez

Idiotic, passive, sloppy fight plan from Jesse Juarez gets him KOed by Ricky Rainey early in the 2nd. Virgil Zwicker wades through most of a round of Razak Al-Hassan kicks, and KOs him with punches, entertaining brawl. Jordan Parsons, probably down on the cards, drops 21/y/o Julio Cesar to 30-1 with a 3rdR Arm Triangle. Antonio Duarte fades after paintjobbing Joe Taimanglo in the 1st and gets KOed in the 3rd via overhand right.

Darrion Caldwell pretty much skunks Rafael Silva. Impressive considering the experience gap but tedious. 29-28 UD.

Yet another (Amoussou, Parysian, Zaromskis) upset for Fernando Gonzalez, probably far behind, jumping Guillotine in the 3rd for the tap on the much bigger Curtis Millander.

Mike Richman misses the extra pound allowance by 3.8 vs. Eduardo Dantas in what was supposed to be a BW title eliminator. Second time in a row he's missed weight since dropping divisions. Solution seems sorta obvious, huh? First they couldn't agree on a catchweight, then Richman wouldn't agree to weigh no more than 147 going into the ring, so the fight was off, but then Dantas decided to fight anyway. Richman looked three divisions bigger. The fight is very close and neither looks very good. Dantas takes the 29-28 UD.

Brandon Halsey missed by 3.1 lbs. for his MW title defense vs. perennial retread Kendall Grove so if he wins the title is vacant. and if Grove wins he wins the title. There is no extra pound allowance in title fights. Like Warren a few weeks ago, Grove's promo involves taking a shit. If this is some new kind of company policy I wonder who thought it was a good idea. Halsey wipes the mat with Grove, as expected, till the ref steps in in the 4th, so the title goes vacant.

In the walkout fight (you have to go back to spike.com or bellator.com ). Benji Radach comes back from a 4 1/2 year layoff and looks it, unable to defend or counter the wild swinging Ben Reiter, an American based for some reason in Peru, and drops a wide UD. One judge somehow gives Benji a round. Both totally gassed by the 3rd. Kimbo-vs.-Houston level bad.

UFC FN 66 Manila

Thumbs up. Lot to like on this card.
Best fight: Magny vs. Lim, Delos Reyes vs. Sangcha-an
Worst fight: Zhikui-Ticman
Best performance: Munoz
Worst performance: Ticman
KO: Guangyou, Jingliang
Sub: Delos Reyes

Nolan Ticman decides he's Floyd Mayweather and stinks out the joint and drops a bizarre 29-28 SD to the aggressive but almost totally ineffective Yao Zhikui. At least it was anti-hometown, which wouldn't last. Then night and day great fight as Jon Delos Reyes, badly cut from a head clash, drops Roldan Sancha-an in the 2nd with a big right and then gets the tap with a persistent RNC after a high tech, all action at all ranges war.

Royston Wee very sluggish after missing weight by a pound and Ning Guangyou does whatever he wants before ending it at the very end of the 2nd with a HK and punches after appearing to gas himself. Li Jingliang blows Dhiego Lima away with a quick KD and G&P. Dhiego should retire before it's too late. This is 3 1R KO losses in his last 4 fights. Solid performance from Kajan Johnson staying a step ahead of Zhang Lipeng all the way for what should be a 30-27 UD. Two judges somehow give Lipeng a round. Outstanding performance from Jon Tuck walking through Tae Hyun Bang and finishing with a right hook KD, taking back and RNC.

Missed the next fight. Levan Makashvili W SD Mark Eddiva. Read it wasn't that close, semi-hometown decision although right winner.

After a stifling 1stR by Phillipe Nover, Yui Chul Nam takes over the 2nd half of the fight and IMO edges the fight. It's 29-28 SD Nover, also somewhat hometown but close fight.

Hyun Gyu Lim rocks Neil Magny early and goes too wild and lets him off the hook. Idiots at fox manage to cut away to the next commercial twice during the round just enough to make us miss the tide turning. Lim gasses and Magny finishes him early in the 2nd with a Suplex, back take, flatten out and G&P and goes to 7 in a row. Magny more than ready for contenders.

Mark Munoz fighting at home in the Philippines for the first time and it's his retirement fight win or lose and he's not there to lose to a Luke Barnatt. Brings back his A game in the 1st with overhand punches, multiple TDs and Donkey Kong G&P but Barnatt is still there and both guys looking spent at the bell. Close to 10-8 round. In the 2nd both gassed and ineffective. Munoz only gets 1 TD and can't do much with it but that and a big right at the end of the round are enough to edge it. In the 3rd Barnatt keeps walking into the right. Munoz drags him down again. Barnatt hits some Travis Browne elbows trying in vain to avoid another TD. Walks into right hands. Another TD. Munoz has his 2nd wind. Barnatt keeps trying with the elbows. Another TD. More Donkey Kong. Munoz riding and pounding till the bell. Also close to a 10-8 but will probably be all 10-9s. One judge gives Barnatt the 2nd. Munoz cuts the farewell promo and leaves his gloves in the ring.

Gegard Mousasi out-everythings Costa Phillipou for the UD that the correct score would have been 30-0.

Almost the same story in the main except the exchanges are competitive. Frankie Edgar just a little better than Urijah Faber at everything and wins every round on every card. Little bigger, little quicker, little more... everything.

HBO BOXING

Astounding US/HBO debut for Nicaraguan FlyW Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez, a protege of the late great Alexis Arguello, TKOing former sparring employer Edgar Sosa (50-8 going in, no chump)  in the 2nd and retaining whatever titles. Complete blowaway. You have to see this kid. Total aggression and off the chart punching accuracy. He has already held titles in 3 divisions and is (get this) 43-0 with 37 KOs.

In the main, Gennady Golovkin racks up another KO defense of the MW title not without some drama. He drops Willie Monroe Jr. (great nephew of The Worm) twice in the 2nd and it looks like another squash, but Monroe having failed with his usual hit and run style stands his ground and trades and his speed keeps him in the fight till the 6th, when GGG drops him again and he just beats the count but tells the ref he's done. Perhaps more to the point GGG sells out the LA Forum against a second (or third) tier opponent and gets a rock star reaction. He has made a point of improving his English and Spanish, and happily calls out Cotto and Andre Ward.
Crimson Mask

Thumbs Up
This was going to be a thumbs in the middle show, but the main event made it a thumbs up.

Best Match
4 Way Main Event.  Opened as a free for all but ended out very compelling once things got going.  Great moments, good finish, and they somehow found a way for everyone to matter.

Worst Match
Cena v. Rusev.  No wrestling.  Dumb finish.

Missed Opportunity
Neville v. Barrett. This match was in a bad spot on the card and felt like it was being rushed.  The finish made no sense.  It was also the worst commentary of the night.     Lots of jokes about kings.  No one called the match.  

-Nick Garcia

WWE Payback
Thumbs in the Middle
Best Match: Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton
Worst Match: Bray Wyatt vs. Ryback

Fun main event, and WWE giving Seth Rollins the Pedigree as a finisher
is a savvy move to build long-term for the inevitable Rollins/Triple H
match.

I watched the majority of this show with the Spanish commentary -- and
I barely speak the language. But it was well worth it to not have to
endure the grating, inane banter of the English language crew taking
away from my enjoyment of the matches.

Think about that for a second. I found it preferable to listen to
broadcasters who I could barely understand over the horribly produced
broadcast style that WWE inexplicably seems hell-bent on sticking with
in spite of it sounding terrible.

It seems highly questionable for WWE to book violent stip matches with
so many restrictions in place on what its wrestlers are allowed to do.

Lou Pickney
Nashville, TN

Thumbs Up
Best Match - Ambrose v. Reigns v. Rollins v. Orton

Great show.  Really entertaining.
Main Event started out slow but really delivered in the end despite the worst looking pedigree ever delivered.  All four guys shined at different times.  Really enjoyed the Reigns and Ambrose interactions.
Tag title match was once again very enjoyable.  Seemed sloppy or mistimed at points but overall had a lot of cool spots and great to overcome any botches. 
Ryback v. Wyatt far exceeded expectations
Ziggler v. Sheamus was great but really makes you think maybe headbutts should be banned, assuming thats where Ziggler busted himself open.  With that much blood he must have hit his head pretty hard.  Wouldn't be surprised if he was concussed as well.

Devon McClure

Hey Dave,

Overall: Thumbs up show. At the beginning of the main event, my thumb was pointed neutral. The quality of the in ring action and the execution of the prevailing story in the main event moved my thumb from east to north. From top to bottom, the roster put in an A effort. Moreover, the bookers (creative team) deserve some credit. Obviously they were not bullet proof, but the show offered a diverse and creative array of finishes that appeared to be appropriate for the matches on an individual basis and for the show as a whole.

Best Match: Fatal 4 way title match was great. Character contrasts, relationship history, plots, sub plots, peaks, valleys , and good in-ring action creates an exciting and fulfilling cap stone to a good event.

Worst Match: Divas tag match was “take it or leave it.” If given a second chance, I would leave it.

A. Metapowers Vs. The Ascension:
Sorry, but the majority of wrestling comedy does not do it for me. I do not mind subtle humor as a piece of an angle, but when the entire act is comedy, it often compromises any semblance of quasi-competition. I could say this was a harmless crowd pleasing match, but the heels went over and disappointed the crowd. Hopefully, this is an indication that WWE realizes the Metapowers have a short shelf life. ½*

1. Sheamus Vs. Dolph Ziggler. There was a lot to like about this match. Ziggler’s intensity and fire at the onset was fitting for the personal animosity talked up by the announce team. This intensity reappeared towards the end, concluding in an ill-advised Ziggler head-butt that ultimately cost him the match. I have four complaints about the match. One, the cut off was a simple elbow to the knee but Ziggler sold it like it was a crippling blow. Simply stated, he sold too much too soon. Second of all, despite Ziggler’s obviously compromised knee, instead of working the ailing body part, Sheamus applied a chin lock. Third, once Ziggler mounted his comeback, the knee injury story was erased from the narrative. My last complaint was the ass kiss spot. It is difficult to go from funny gag master to courageous and determined babyface in the span of five minutes. Action and aggression helped the match, inconsistency brought it back down. **3/4

2. 2 out of 3 falls Tag Team Title Match: The New Day Vs. Kidd and Cesaro. I had high expectations for the tag team title match, and I would say this almost reached my expectations. I enjoyed the formula of the match. 1st fall was an extended baby face shine. Second fall started with an impact cut off and was dominated by heel heat. This allowed Kidd to play the valiant baby face. A roll he pulled off very well. The hot tag to Cesaro started white hot. Unfortunately, the momentum was watered down when he was unable to get Big E up for the tiger driver. They recovered sufficiently and the timing on the finish made it a realistic twin magic trick finish. If you erase some of the clutter and clean up a few exchanges, this was a four star match. Even with its deficiencies, it gets ***1/2 from me.

 3. Bray Wyatt Vs. Ryback. Two motivated wrestlers engaged in a physical match. This was Wyatt’s best showing in recent memory. Ryback’s selling deserves complement. The only thing that brought this match down was Baltimore’s hesitance to fully invest in Ryback as the conquering hero. Clever finish that was conclusive enough to satisfy and yet did not damage either wrestler involved. ***1/2

4. I Quit US Title Match: John Cena Vs. Rusev. Not bad, but too long and too slow for my taste. Rusev dominated the beginning of the match, and looked good doing so. Once they took it to the outside of the ring, I think they lost the crowd and dampened the intensity. Every time the match appeared to lull into lethargy, they executed a transition to liven the crowd. The finish was as inconclusive as predicted, which does not add an exclamation point to a feud blow off. I liked Bradshaw’s closing line concerning the legality of Lana quitting for Rusev, “This is a US title match, we cannot assume.” **1/4

5. Naomi and Tamina Vs. Nikki Bella and Brie Bella. I thought the match started off fine, but once the live crowd lost interest, I lost interest. Tonight, the fans did not give the divas a chance. At this point, an appropriate step in reviving and improving the Divas division may be removing the Bellas from active competition. As wrestlers in the division, they are like old condiments in a refridgerator. They may be used later, but as for now, they are just taking up space. Sometimes, the best decision is to throw them away.*1/2

6. Neville Vs. King Barrett. I like the idea of placing these guys in the traditional dead spot and making them work up hill to illicit a positive crowd response. These guys were up to the task and provided a decent but less than thrilling singles match. Many will complain about the finish, but I will say this; Barrett is a heel. Even during this match, he was getting a mixed response. Quitting at a key point in the match ensures his favorable response is cut off at the knees. Neville coming back in the ring and beating up the king allows him to come out of the event looking like a fighter. **

7. Fatal Four Way WWE World Title Match: Seth Rollins Vs. Dean Ambrose Vs. Roman Reigns Vs. Randy Orton. The pre match hype video heightened my fear that the enveloping story would center around Kane and Rollins rather than the three challengers. While this narrative was central to the match, the Shield sub plot was the highlight of the contest. The crowd was subdued to start, but once the Shield dynamic was revealed, the place came unglued. Everyone was given a chance to shine and Kane’s involvement was more of a positive than a negative. Character contrasts, relationship history, plots, sub plots, peaks, valleys, and good in-ring action creates an exciting and fulfilling cap stone to a good event. ****

Thanks, Derrick from Utah

Thumbs in the middle
Best: Main event
Worst: Ascention/Axel & Sandow

Not much to say about this one.  Almost too predictable.  Sometimes predictable is good, but WWE didn't really give anything on this show.  Basically a televised house show.  Good matches, but finishes were easy to call in each of them.  Should at least have a surprise or newsworthy event given it's a PPV, as there's absolutely nothing different in WWE land now than there was this morning.

- Chris H
Lakeland, FL

Payback: Thumbs Up

Best Match:WWE Championship 4 Way

Worst Match: Divas Tag Match

Preshow wasn't much of anything.  The bonus match as they called it with Truth over Stardust was filler.  I rather they not put these matches on for no reason.  The Mega Powers vs. the Ascension was basically a squash.  I thought the Mega Powers were actually going to over, but maybe they will try to actually push the Ascension now.

Payback starts with Sheamus beating Dolph Ziggler.  Solid match here.  New Day retains over Kidd and Cesaro in the 2/3 fall match.  Good match.  These two teams really have good in-ring chemistry.  Solid match with Bray Wyatt over Ryback.  They did a few impressive things here some of which looked like it really hurt.  Not sure what plans are for Wyatt, but honestly everything he's been doing just seems like a place holder.  Cena over Rusev was entertaining.  I still don't understand how Lana saying I Quit is acceptable.  They should just say hey anyone can act on behalf of a participant if they feel like it.  Divas tag match just didn't work.  It wasn't flowing well.  Neville vs. Barrett was fine until the lame count out finish.  Neville really has something.  I hope gets to move up.  Four way was good overall.  I knew they would work the Shield triple power bomb spot into the match.  I hope Ambrose gets a shot at holding the title down the line.  Rollins' using the Pedigree wasn't that great.  It didn't come off that good, but the match itself was good.  Overall a good show, nothing off the charts, but nothing terrible either. 

Robb Block